Siren - John Everson This review originally posted at The Bibliosanctum

First off, I'd like to say that I am likely not this novel's intended audience. That will have a lot to do with my rating.

In this book, the main character Evan walks the beach every night grieving for his son who drowned in an accident more than a year ago, until one night he is drawn to the voice of a beautiful naked woman singing on the rocks by the ocean. I'm well-versed enough in my mythology to know that Sirens are mysterious and seductive creatures who lured sailors and ships to their doom with their enchanting songs, but even I was unprepared for the amount of gratuitous and senseless sex in this novel.

At times, it felt like Evan only had two modes: horny or depressed. For the first three-quarters of the book, it seemed like all he was doing was either a) having sex, thinking about sex, or talking about sex, or b) remembering and crying for his lost son. We seem to go around in circles with these two conditions.

The story is also punctuated periodically by chapters flashing back to the 1800s, focusing on a crew aboard a smuggling ship and their encounters with the novel's eponymous creature. These scenes serve to add a little more background and history to the setting, but you also end up getting a healthy dose of gory violence, and of course, even more sex.

Now I'm no prude, and I'll even admit I've been known to enjoy books that are even more extreme in their dealings with the subject both in their quantity and carnality. I would even have found all of the sex in this book to be entertaining and good for the kicks, but for the fact the main character is apparently an utter ninny.

Not only was he repeatedly cheating on his bereaved wife, in the book Evan is also told flat-out by his friend Bill that he may have been spellbound by a Siren. And yet, Evan remains unconvinced. Granted, being lured into the ocean by a beautiful naked woman and her song could possibly be explained away by an over-amorous skinny dipper with a talented voice, but when dozens of seagulls suddenly start dive-bombing you and killing themselves against the windows of your house, shouldn't it make you think that maybe, just maybe, something strange or supernatural might be up?

And considering how many of Evan's problems in the book were defined by his son's drowning, there was surprisingly very little detail about his death and that tragic day. Meanwhile, of course, there were pages upon pages devoted to descriptions of Ligeia the Siren's naughty bits. Indeed, the characters could have been better developed, and in my opinion a couple of them were either underutilized (like Evan's psychiatrist) or written strangely (like his friend Bill, who would say the most ridiculous things at inappropriate moments). Much of the time, they don't act like real people.

Basically, reading this book reminded me a lot of watching a low-budget B-list creature feature on the SyFy channel (though, I suppose the SyFy channel would not abide so much nudity and sex). Don't get me wrong, though; those kinds of movies have a place in my life, especially snuggled on the couch on a Saturday night with a big bowl of popcorn. They're definitely good for some expedient thrills and entertainment, and bottom line, I would probably say much the same for this book. Purchased for $0.99 from the Kindle's promotional list, I certainly don't regret it.